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Sammie Finds a Home
By Carl Langley
posted October 17, 2008
GUEST COLUMN – A few weeks back I was
walking to my car in the parking lot at this newspaper when a black dog
struggled to her feet. She had been resting in the shade of an oak tree
in the center of the parking lot.
With her tail feebly wagging in a gesture of friendship, she came
straight toward me. I stopped and began speaking to her. She kept
coming. She got close enough for me to touch her.
There was no doubt she was comfortable around people, seeing them as
friends. Perhaps she had been someone’s pet. And there also was no
doubt that she had raised a litter of puppies. I will never know what
happened to them.
Shortly after the trembling, emaciated dog stopped in front of me she
lowered her head and rubbed it against my leg. I knew she was telling
me something. She was making a plea for help in one of those wonderful
ways dogs have in communicating with people.
“Look at me please! What a mess I am!” she seemed to be saying. “If I
do not get help I will certainly die!” Those were the words she would
have said had she been able to speak.
I reached down and ran my hand along the back of her neck and along her
spine. Her coat felt like a piece of rough cloth. Her back, sides and
neck were covered with ticks. I could see fleas scurrying about on her
back and sides.
Nature can be so vile at times, so horrifying. The plague loosed upon
her brought me to tears. I kneeled down and hugged her tightly but
gently, quietly offering soothing words and promising to help.
I began brushing away the fleas and I began pulling at bloated ticks. I
had removed nearly a dozen before spotting dozens more on her legs and
on her feet. It seemed as fast as I pulled or brushed one off two more
I had to do more. She stood quietly as I gently wrapped my arms around
her body. I picked her up and took her to my car. I put her on the back
seat and off we went to the Aiken County Animal Shelter on Wire Road.
The shelter is one of Bill Shepherd’s great gifts to dogs, cats, a
variety of other animals and the people of this county before he
retired as our county administrator. The retired Army colonel was the
best and remains the best administrator this county ever had.
I knew Shirley Harden, the shelter director, and her assistants Sandy
and Tammy would care for the one I left in their arms. I delivered her
into the most loving place she ever knew. It took several days of
bathing and treatment before the fleas and ticks were killed. She
gained weight and her coat took on a rich luster.
The gentle black dog who loved people was reborn, and with a name
befitting those who cared. The shelter staff named her Sammie in honor
of Sandy and Tammy and she was a new creature. I made regular visits to
the shelter and on each trip I found a dog filled with life and giving
her love freely and openly.
I called my personal angel Elaine van der Linden. Elaine was once a
rabid political activist. She has given up on politicians because of
their betrayals and now leads a crusade to save dogs, cats and other
pets who have been abused and neglected.
Elaine is the founder of Molly’s Militia, a North Augusta animal rescue
agency, and, as I expected, she found foster care for Sammie with John
and Emily Ames. The Ames and many others like them are working wonders
on behalf of the hopeless.
John and Emily took Sammie into their home and into their hearts. John
is an electronics engineer and works for the U.S. military at Fort
Gordon. He will be moving to a new assignment soon, and Elaine is
hoping that when they leave Sammie will be taken along.
Elaine took a picture of John, Emily and Sammie and sent it to me on
the Internet. Elaine works with a digital camera and is one of the best
amateur photographers I have ever seen.
I fell in love with the picture, and with John and Emily and Sammie.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If true, this one
is a symphony filled with lyrics of love. It shows how deep the bond
can be forged between a loving couple and a loving pet.
Even in the worst of times a divine power can enter into our lives,
bringing hope in the most helpless of cases and light in the darkest of
places. How else can one explain how Sammie, apparently thrown out by
the roadside or left behind when a family moved, found her way to the
parking lot and found her way to me?
But I had a disquieting moment while reflecting on what had happened.
How many loving creatures like Sammie are cast aside and never find
anyone? That is the saddest story of all. At least in Sammie’s case
there is a happy ending, one made possible by wonderful people like
Shirley, Sandy, Tammy, Elaine, John and Emily.
God bless them all!
(Editor’s Note: This is a column written by Carl
Langley while working at the Aiken Standard newspaper)
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
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